COVID-19 tests no longer mandatory for general population: Vergeire
Persons who are not healthcare workers, senior citizens, or people with comorbidities are no longer required to undergo tests for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) despite developing mild symptoms or becoming close contacts of confirmed cases.
In an online townhall forum on late Wednesday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said only members of the A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens), and A3 (people with comorbidities) sectors must undergo tests if they develop symptoms or are identified close contacts.
"Testing shall be recommended and prioritized for instances where result of testing will affect the clinical management. The RT-PCR testing shall be prioritized to A1, A2, A3 individuals," said Vergeire.
"Testing shall now be optional for community-level actions. Specifically, testing should not be required," she added.
The shift in testing protocols comes as many are trying to get tested for COVID-19, resulting in longer releasing periods for results.
Vergeire said people exposed to COVID-19 cases but have no symptoms must undergo quarantine and examine if they will develop symptoms.
Vergeire said those who developed mild COVID-19 symptoms must isolate themselves, undergo home care, and teleconsult with a doctor.
She said healthcare workers exposed to positive individuals or developed symptoms need to get tested.
Vergeire said senior citizens and people with comorbidities exposed to positive individuals or have developed symptoms must also be tested.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also said it would be a waste of valuable resources to continue contact tracing amid a high level of transmission.
"When there is a widespread community transmission, and it is sustained, it’s impractical to do contact tracing," he said in a television interview Thursday.
"You’ll be wasting a lot of resources doing contact tracing when you know the cases are already on an upswing, accelerating, and more and more communities are being infected," added Duque. DMS